Separatists Accuse Georgia of Placing Mines in Conflict Zone

The Ossetian side has accused Georgia of leaving territories mined in the [Georgian-Ossetian] conflict zone and of the death of a Georgian teenager [on 14 June].


The Ossetian side has accused Georgia of leaving territories mined in the [Georgian-Ossetian] conflict zone and of the death of a Georgian teenager [on 14 June]. The Georgian side described the accusation as absurd, saying that the Georgian Defence Ministry does not have in its arsenal Russian-made antipersonnel mines of the type, which killed 14-year old Karlo Inauri near [the Georgian village of] Ergneti yesterday. You can see details in [our correspondent] Nata Oboladze's report.
[Correspondent] This is where the town of Tskhinvali [capital of unrecognized South Ossetia] starts. The Georgian population uses the area as a pasture. Land mines were planted here several years ago on the orders of [South Ossetian separatist leader] Eduard Kokoyty. Both cattle and people have fallen victim to them. The latest incident in this field took place yesterday, when 14-year-old Karlo Inauri exploded on a Russian-made land mine. Twenty-four hours after the incident, the de facto authorities in Tskhinvali accused Georgia of mining the territory. [Boris Chochiyev, minister for special assignments in the separatist government, speaking in Russian on the telephone] We have not mined any territories there, because that territory is controlled by the Georgian side, which controls the area beyond the post.
[Correspondent] The territory, which Tskhinvali has accused Tbilisi of having mined, is partially controlled by the Kokoyty regime. These are fields situated between Tskhinvali and Georgian villages. The mining of this territory started in 2004 and reached its peak, when the [Tbilisi-backed] government led by Dmitriy Sanakoyev was formed.
[Former Georgian MP elected in the conflict zone, Guram Vakhtangashvili] Our authorities control only this road, where police stands. Ossetians control the rest of the area, which is intensively mined.
[Correspondent] Tbilisi is demanding an investigation into who has mined the area. Nikoloz Rurua, deputy chairman of the Georgian parliament Defence and Security Committee, said that Georgia does not have Russian-made land mines, which are available in the arsenal of the de facto authorities [in Tskhinvali]. Rurua assessed the accusation from Tskhinvali as the separatists' latest provocation.
[Rurua speaking on the telephone] This is a total lie. The Georgian armed forces do not use such land mines. These are Russian- made antipersonnel mines, which bandit formations of the Ossetian separatists plant, where territories are impossible to control.
[Correspondent] A total of 15 people have fallen victim to land mines in the conflict zone. The last incident took place yesterday. Fourteen-year-old Karlo Inauri found an explosive in the field near the village of Ergneti. The device blew up in the teenager's hands and killed him on the spot.
Originally published by Mze TV, Tbilisi, in Georgian 1600 15 Jun 08.
(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Central Asia. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.


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